SMITH: Santa Rosa man's book of wisdom inspired by staring death in the face

  • E.D. and Anne Isaacs anniversary 6.13

E.D. Isaacs was supposed to die.

In 1994, the career broadcaster and advertising exec was knocked off his feet by lymphoma and total kidney failure. He says two oncologists agreed he had maybe four months to live.

Isaacs began a treatment regimen, hoping it would extend his time a bit. He was thinking about his funeral and the lessons life had taught him when he began to look through his huge collection of what he calls "wisdoms."

They're quotes, poems, lyrics, aphorisms, philosophies, maxims, proverbs, witticisms and such that the Santa Rosan has collected for 50 years.

He decided his final act would be to compile them into a book and give it to family members, friends and the doctors and other medical workers who surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation were keeping him alive.

Then the cancer went into remission and Isaac's kidneys commenced working again. One grateful man, he choose to make his book of assembled wisdom — more than 1,500 observations in 57 categories — his gift to the world.

It's nicely done and you can find it at thewisdomsproject.com. He quotes Bob Hope on the topic of compassion: "If you haven't any kindness in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble."

A "wisdoms" on optimism by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow goes, "The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide."

In the "Happiness" section, Isaacs found no one to credit for, "If I had my life to live over, I'd live over a Chinese restaurant."

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